“I have seen a change in attitude toward women and the more important place they are taking in world affairs.”
Sister Joan Peltier, born in Milwaukee, the oldest of nine children, entered the Maryknoll Sisters in l937. Before her first mission assignment to Bolivia in 1943, she completed her Bachelor’s of Education at Maryknoll Teachers College, New York.
She spent twenty-nine years in mission in Bolivia and Peru, dedicating herself to pastoral and catechetical teaching or as a primary teacher. She began her mission life in the jungle area of Riberalta, then a primary school in Cobija and later in Guayaramerin – all in Bolivia. She served as Regional Superior for twelve years until 1966.
Sister Joan served in other cities and in other capacities. She taught primary school in San Juan Capistrano, and did fund raising for the congregation in Houston before returning to South America – this time to Arequipa, Peru, where she did catechetical work in the public schools. She also helped in a day-care nursery being initiated for women working in the fields. In St. Louis she worked with physically challenged persons.
In 1975 with a desire to be in a pastoral setting in the States, Sister Joan chose to work in Breckenridge, Texas, as an associate pastor, serving in five rural Catholic communities with Sister Catherine Sullivan. The sisters were well received in these communities whose members were mostly Spanish-speaking. She returned for two years to her first mission, Bolivia.
Wanting to remain active, she joined other semi-retired Maryknoll Sisters in a house in West Haven, CT. When that house closed, she moved to another convent in Yonkers, NY.
She celebrated her seventy-fifth anniversary in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the Maryknoll Sisters, and continues to spread her joy and talents generously with all at the Center.